ASPENDOS

Aspendos or Aspendus - Serik Province: ANTALYA

ASPENDOS

Aspendos, an ancient Greco-Roman city in Antalya province of Turkey. It is located 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) northeast of central Serik. It was situated on the Eurymedon River about 16 km inland from the Mediterranean Sea; it shared a border with, and was hostile to, Side. According to later tradition, the (originally non-Greek) city was founded around 1000 BC by Greeks who may have come from Argos. The wide range of its coinage throughout the ancient world indicates that, in the 5th century BC, Aspendos had become the most important city in Pamphylia. At that time the Eurymedon River was navigable as far as Aspendos, and the city derived great wealth from a trade in salt, oil, and wool. Aspendos is known for having the best-preserved theater of antiquity. With a diameter of 96 meters (315 ft), the theater provided seating for 7,000. The theater was built in 155 by the Greek architect Zenon, a native of the city, during the rule of Marcus Aurelius. It was periodically repaired by the Seljuks who used it as a caravansaray and in the 13th century, the stage building was converted into a palace by Seljugs of Rum.

Aspendos did not play an important role in antiquity as a political force. Its political history during the colonization period corresponded to the currents of the Pamphylian region. Within this trend, after the colonial period, it remained for a time under Lycian hegemony. In 546 B.C. it came under Persian domination. The face that the city continued to mint coins in its own name, however, indicates that it had a great deal of freedom even under the Persians.

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